Josh Kozelj

VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men finished in the Top 10 at the U SPORTS Cross Country national championship at Fort Henry Hill on Nov. 9 in Kingston, Ont. The Queen’s hosted event was won by Calgary who win their first-ever men’s cross country championship banner.


The Vikes were led by third year Josh Kozelj who finished in 29th overall in 32:16.4. Kozelj finished ninth in the conference results to be named a Canada West Second Team All-Star.

“I was really proud with the team today,” said Kozelj. “The conditions were extremely difficult with the wind and below zero temperatures but words can’t describe how proud I am of the guys. They have battled and worked so hard all year and it’s a real pleasure to just be apart of this team with an amazing group of people.”

“I was also so pumped with my own result to finish nine spots higher than last year and get Canada West All-Star for the second year in a row.

As was part of the plan the Vikes stayed close together as Chet Goerzen, Ben Weir and Jonny Toombs finished 49th, 50th and 54th, respectively, while Derrick Evans was not far behind in 61st. Alex Nemethy was 76th (33:21.5) and Brendan Hoff finished in 105th in 34:16.4.

“There are two things you can’t control – the weather and your opponents,” said Vikes men’s and women’s cross country head coach Brent Fougner. “Our preparation and fitness this year was probably the best we have had for several years. The health of the team was good and on the day everyone ran to their best ability. I am proud of the team in its season even if we came up short today. Four athletes ran their last cross country race as a Vike – Ben Weir , Derrick Evans, Chloe Hegland and Alison Irvine. All of them have contributed a lot to this program and today, as they always have, they gave 100 per cent towards their team.”

The Vikes combined for a team score of 243 to finish ninth in the country and fourth in the country.

Calgary finished with three All-Canadians in the race as Pennock was followed close behind by Eric Lutz in ninth and Stefan Daniel in 10th. Ryan Grieco (21st) and Tyler Kiyonaga (32nd) rounded out the top five for Calgary as they finished with a team score of 75 which was 14 points ahead of second-place Guelph and 19 ahead of third place McMaster.

The U SPORTS men’s champion was Connor Black from the Guelph Gryphons who ran the 10km race in a time of 31:13, which included a tight sprint down the finish as he fended off silver medalist Jean-Simon Desgagnés of the Laval Rouge et Or by a fraction of a second.

29thJosh Kozelj (32:16.4) – CW Second Team All-Star
49thChet Goerzen (32:45.0)
50thBen Weir (32:45.8)
54thJonny Toombs (32:50.0)
61stDerrick Evans (33:00.9)
76thAlexander Nemethy (33:21.5)
105thBrendan Hoff (34:16.4)

Team Standings

  1. Calgary, 75
  2. Guelph, 89
  3. McMaster, 94
  4. Laval, 131
  5. Queen’s, 149
  6. Western, 173
  7. UBC, 235
  8. Trinity Western, 242
  9. Victoria, 243
  10. Toronto, 279
  11. Manitoba, 331
  12. StFX, 344
  13. Laurentian, 385
  14. Alberta, 405
  15. Sherbrooke, 427
  16. Regina, 540
  17. Laurier, 541
  18. UQAM, 650
  19. Montreal, 700

First Team All-Canadians
1. Connor Black, Guelph (31:13.0)
2. Jean-Simon Desgagnés, Laval (31:13.6)
3. Russell Pennock, Calgary (31:16.2)
4. John Gay, UBC (31:17.0)
5. Isaiah Frelink, Western (31:18.5)
6. Caleb De Jong, Trinity Western (31:25.3)
7. Nick Colyn, Trinity Western (31:28.3)

Second Team All-Canadians
8. Jack Sheffar, Western (31:33.1)
9. Eric Lutz, Calgary (31:34.1)
10. Stefan Daniel, Calgary (31:36.7)
11. Max Turek, McMaster (31:38.0)
12. Mitchell de Lange, Queen’s (31:42.0)
13. Alexis Lepage, Laval (31:44.0)
14. Alex Drover, McMaster (31:45.1)

Award Winners

Athlete of the Year: Connor Black, Calgary
Rookie of the Year: Ruben Sansom, Queen’s
Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Craig Klomp, Toronto
Coach of the Year: Doug Lamont, Calgary

1 Calgary, 75 pts
2 UBC, 235 pts
3 Trinity Western, 242 pts
4 Victoria, 243 pts
5 Manitoba, 331 pts
6 Alberta, 405 pts
7 Regina, 540 pts